Enjoy now: silverbeet
This reliable leafy green has never been top of the pops but all it really needs is some decent PR – that certainly did the trick for kale. Silverbeet has been referred to as donkey grass but the Romans considered it a delicacy. Americans call it chard. Easy to grow and full of goodness, it deserves a more frequent spot on our menus.
Despite appearances, silverbeet is no relation to spinach (in fact, it’s from the beetroot family), although it does have similar nutritional qualities.
Silverbeet can be treated as two vegetables in one: the chunky white stalks and the deep green leaves. They can be cooked together (the stalks take longer so give them a head start of 2-3 minutes) but try using the stalks in a stir-fry and mixing the shredded leaves with mashed potato in patties or a mash (see below).
Caraway seeds and nutmeg are excellent flavour additions.
Young leaves are good raw in a salad. It’s important to wash silverbeet leaves really well before use, as dirt tends to cling in the folds.
Silverbeet can be used pretty much anywhere you would use cooked spinach or other thick leafy greens, such as stews, stir-fries, stuffings, soups and pastas.
When sautéed, the bitterness of mature leaves will fade and it will taste sweeter than cooked spinach.